The NHL released the schedules this week. The Metropolitan Division, which consists of the Carolina Hurricanes, Columbus Blue Jackets, New Jersey Devils, New York Islanders, New York Rangers, Philadelphia Flyers, Pittsburgh Penguins, and the Washington Capitals, looks to be a fierce division in the East. The NHL has also released news that the NHL players will be allowed to play in the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.
The Carolina Hurricanes have a good looking schedule this season. They have a couple of 4-game road trips, but their biggest chance to capitalize this season is on their 5-game home stand from November 5th to November 15th. On November 2nd, just a few days before they start their home stand, all the Staal brothers will be on the ice in New York. It’ll be Eric, Jordan, and Jared vs. Marc Staal and the New York Rangers. Check out the full schedule at Cardiac Cane.
The Columbus Blue Jackets proved everyone wrong last season when they nearly got into the playoffs. Now that they sit in the Eastern Conference, it’s their chance to make a new name for themselves in their new spot. Between November 12th and November 25th, the team plays seven road games out of eight games. The Blue Jackets play in Washington and Boston, then go back home to play Montreal. They then hit five straight road games, going on a Canadian tour. They play Ottawa, Edmonton, Calgary, Vancouver, and Toronto. Check out Union and Blue for the Blue Jackets’ schedule.
The New Jersey Devils made some noise as they hosted the 2013 NHL Entry Draft. First, they traded their 9th overall pick to the Vancouver Canucks for goaltender Cory Schneider. Vancouver chose Bo Horvat of the London Knights. Then, in the final round, they let Martin Brodeur announce their choice to draft his son, Anthony. October is going to be rough for the team, because the Devils will play 8 games out of 12 on the road. Once the first month is past them, everything evens out. Check out Pucks and Pitchforks and see the schedule.
The New York Islanders played good last year, which landed them in the 8th seed of the playoffs. They played decent in the post-season, but they were no match for the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Islanders play six-straight road games in January. They have a few five-game streaks throughout the season, some at home and some away. Now that they just signed Josh Bailey to a five-year deal, things could be interesting for the Islanders.
The New York Rangers drafted a kid named Adam Tambellini with the 65th pick in 2013. After following my gut, I found out he is, in fact, the son of former GM of the Edmonton Oilers Steve Tambellini. The team looks to be a fierce competitor in the division. To start October, the Rangers go on a 9-game road trip. I had to double-check when I saw that, but it is. They then go home to play the Canadiens, then hit the road again. In December, they get a 9-game home stand. Check out Blue Line Station for the full schedule.
The Philadelphia Flyers missed the playoffs last year as Claude Giroux was a first year captain. The Flyers have two 6-game road trips almost right on top of each other. One starts November 30th and runs until December 11th, and the other starts on December 28th and runs until January 7th. These games could prove to be crucial for this team to make the playoffs, especially now since they are on the road.
The Pittsburgh Penguins were the team that was on fire last year, and then when they hit the Conference Finals, they threw it in park and watched as their Stanley Cup dream was destroyed. Their season looks pretty balanced. The most games in a streak for them is 5 games, and that takes place in March. Big players are obviously Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, but I think Marc-Andre Fleury is going to become a stronger goaltender this season.
The Washington Capitals, who saw Alex Ovechkin play unbelievable last season, expected a little more than their first round elimination in the playoffs. Despite Ovechkin’s hard attempt in the second half of the season, they fell too short in the playoffs. This is their year. They have two 5-game road trips and one 5-game home stand. These stretches of games will prove to be important when they are looking for a playoff berth this season. Hopefully Ovechkin can win the Stanley Cup with the Capitals.